Marolt: Going through the motions and hating those who won’t | AspenTimes.com

Marolt: Going through the motions and hating those who won’t

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic

Roger Marolt

I believe some are using the American flag as leverage for hatred. They are doing this by making a bigger deal out of professional football players (mostly minorities) kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner than is reasonably warranted. It hinges on this: While it is not acceptable to hate people because of skin color, it is apparently perfectly fine to hate people who disrespect our flag. I think it is camouflaging racism as patriotism.

Can we agree that this is probably happening in some instances? Is anyone willing to claim this is absolutely not happening at all?

Then, the real question is: How many people getting worked up about NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem are using the situation as an excuse to heap hatred on African Americans?

My guess is more than a couple. This is an educated guess based on two assumptions: The first is that few of us cared too much what people did during the playing of the national anthem before ballgames prior to a black man taking a knee during this formality last year. My second assumption is that dead people don't care about the National Anthem.

I'll deal with the second assumption first. Whether you are religious or atheist, you can't make a good argument that our dearly departed give a hoot about our or anyone else's patriotic music and what we do during the playing of it from where they are now. I mean this with all due respect.

For those who believe in the almighty, no matter your name for him or her, I have to believe that you believe that our deceased loved ones are in a better place where there are better things to do than get offended over knee-bending during the anthem back on Earth. Hopefully they are now more patient, loving and generous than we.

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If not, there are probably many harpsichords up there gathering dust while the angels pout. I believe those who fought and died defending freedom and justice are completely satisfied with their rewards in heaven. None will be offended by people taking a knee with good intentions, even if their actions are debated in worldly newspapers and television news programs.

If you lean atheistic, I think it is pretty clear you feel the dead don't care about anything. Either way, let's stop projecting our views as being those of Heaven's or the netherworld's citizens to support our personal arguments on Earth.

Now, onto the first assumption that few are actually genuinely enraged by disrespectful behavior during the National Anthem. Until recently NFL players sat in the locker rooms during this pregame tradition. We have all seen baseball players along the baselines spitting tobacco juice and/or adjusting their junk as the patriotic song is sung. Coaches whisper strategies into each others' ears below the treble of the horns. Fans can be ubiquitously spotted sipping foam off the tops of the afternoon's first draughts or licking mustard dollops from hot dogs before it drips on their pants as the high notes are hit. You couldn't count the throngs emptying their bladders or waiting in line to do so in stadium bathrooms within earshot of the music. Half the crowd is still in line at the concession stands facing menus instead of the flag as this is going on. Did none anticipate this tradition of the anthem? How many fans don't know the words? How many complaining about the kneel-down don't even bother to sing as the words scroll across the scoreboard? I admit that I slouch on the couch watching them play it on television at home, so any display of patriotism I put on during public renditions must be purely for show.

We all love our flag and the National Anthem and all who have fought and died, not to protect the flag or the song, but the ideals they are symbols of. Standing stock-straight facing the flag during the playing of the National Anthem is not nearly as important as living each day in appreciation of what these symbols stand for. I believe most of us understand this implicitly.

So, I find it hard to believe that most rational people can get genuinely enraged about someone else not "honoring" the flag by the prescribed method. Yet, recent evidence suggests many people do profess to abhor those who are choosing to take a knee during the anthem. Again, my question is, what or whom do they really hate?

Nature has called Roger Marolt to wait in line in many stadium bathrooms as the National Anthem was played. Email at roger@maroltllp.com.

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